Diagnosis is the key component in disease elimination to improve global health. However, there is a tremendous need for diagnostic innovation for neglected tropical diseases that largely consist of mosquito-borne infections and bacterial infections. Early diagnosis of these infectious diseases is critical but challenging because the biomarkers are present at low concentrations, demanding bioanalytical techniques that can deliver high sensitivity with ensured specificity. Owing to the plasmonic nanomaterials-enabled high detection sensitivities, even up to single molecules, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has gained attention as an optical analytical tool for early disease biomarker detection. In this mini-review, we highlight the SERS-based assay development tailored to detect key types of biomarkers for mosquito-borne and bacterial infections. We discuss in detail the variations of SERS-based techniques that have developed to afford qualitative and quantitative disease biomarker detection in a more accurate, affordable, and field-transferable manner. Current and emerging challenges in the advancement of SERS-based technologies from the proof-of-concept phase to the point-of-care phase are also briefly discussed.
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